Pullman, Wash.—METER Group, Inc. USA (METER) has been shortlisted in the Innovation Lions at Cannes for an ongoing soil cleanup project in Fukushima prefecture. The company joins IKEA, Volvo, Ford, Microsoft, Adidas and Google in the category.
The campaign, ‘Made in Fukushima. A Sustainable Decontamination Method for Farming,’ created with Munich-based creative agency Serviceplan, shines a light on recovery efforts in the farming village of Iitate.
The core product of the campaign, a 296-page book, weaves together real-world accounts, hard science and powerful visuals, while honoring Japanese tradition. Like its name suggests, the book is made out of rice straw grown on the decontaminated fields. Its paper is crafted and bound using traditional Japanese methods.
“It’s an important story to be told,” comments Dr. Colin Campbell, senior research scientist at METER. “In the story of sustainability, so many would like to have a quick fix. But there are rarely quick-fix stories about sustainability.”
The image of piled black bags packed with contaminated soil has become symbolic of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The same bags still carpet large areas of the Iitate landscape, once celebrated as Japan’s most beautiful.
“The government used the method of removing 5 cm of the soil and then replacing with 5 cm of dirt taken from mountains,” describes Keiichi Kanno, a local farmer.
Dr. Masaru Mizoguchi, head of The University of Tokyo’s Department of Global Agricultural Sciences and vice president of Resurrection of Fukushima, explains why the government remediation method doesn’t work:
“What’s important in farming grounds is the soil that farmers fertilized over many years. The soil taken from mountains doesn’t have enough nutrients for growing farm produce. So you have to rebuild the soil from scratch again, putting in organic matter such as compost. This is probably the hardest thing to do.”
In the village, Mizoguchi uses surveying equipment to collect data. He started using METER’s soil moisture products 20 years ago when the company was called Decagon Devices.
Tests were done with METER to see if the radioactive cesium could be removed from the soil in a more sustainable way. A new method, pioneered by Mizoguchi and others, uses resources and practices already present in rice farming.
“Being able to remove sources of radiation from the environment lets residents return to their lives,” adds Campbell. “These methods to try to clean soil effectively allow us to help with that. But there is a lot more to do.”
Much has been reported on Fukushima in the years following the March 2011 nuclear accident. The campaign aims to restructure the conversation about Fukushima using sensory experience to connect readers to the data on a deeper level.
“I’m excited that the recognition of Cannes will draw new attention to Fukushima,” says Campbell. “I think this is a great example of people that have had the initiative and the drive to ensure that this gets fixed and [is] not forgotten.”
Shortlisted entrants for Innovation Lions will present their work to the jury and Festival delegates, live in Cannes June 17 – 19, 2019. Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity takes place from June 17 – 21, 2019. Learn more about the project at https://go.meter.group/p42963.
METER Group, a Decagon and UMS combined company, delivers real-time, high-resolution data that fuels production and processes for the food quality, environmental research, urban and agriculture sectors. Through the power of its employees, METER combines science, engineering and design expertise to turn physical measurements into useful information. https://www.metergroup.com
The Serviceplan Group is dedicated to the entrepreneurial success of its clients and is a market leader in the development and realization of integrated communication concepts. With Houses of Communication in every important economic region around the world, Serviceplan is the only independent agency group to provide all communication services from a single source for the creation of truly integrated concepts. https://www.serviceplan.com
Of the tens of thousands of marketing entries, only 10 percent make the shortlist. The Innovation Lions honor ground-breaking innovation, technology and problem-solving. Standalone technological solutions including tools, products, models, platforms and other forms of ad tech will also be recognized, as well as creative campaigns utilizing new tech. https://www.canneslions.com
With the new Lysimeter division it is systematically expanding its business field. Univ. lect. Dr. Johann Fank (CEO JR-AquaConSol), has been leading the Lysimeter Research Group for more than 10 years. Through this cooperation, the METER Group transfers its entire technical know-how in the areas of consulting and plant design, installation and training as well as in the areas of services and support to JR-AquaConSol.
METER is now accepting applications for the 2020 G.A. Harris Fellowship. The annual program, founded in honor of the late Grant A. Harris, was designed to support studies focused on growing people’s understanding of physical, chemical and biological processes in the environment.